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Thread: Debussy - Pelleas et Melisande

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    Senior Member les24preludes's Avatar
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    Default Debussy - Pelleas et Melisande

    What are your recommendations for this wonderful opera? I've compiled a list with some YT examples to help here:

    ORTF/Inghelbrecht – 1962 Naïve w. Grancher+Roux+Jansen nice singing
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mdx...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Vienna/de Billy – video w. Dessay+Naouri+Degout nice
    OSR/Ansermet w. Spoorenberg+London 1964s (don’t like London..)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zqs...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    VPO/Abbado - score OK not best singing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc7h...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUho...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Monte Carlo/Jordan w. Yakar+Huttenlocher+Tappy
    Haitink live w. Von Otter+Holzmair
    Orch de Lille/Casadesus, Naxos w. Delunche+https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzBs...eoXQjx4sL8n0eC
    RAI/Karajan 1954 mono w. Schwarzkopf+Haefliger
    VS Opera/Karajan 1962 w. Gueden+Waechter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex3o...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Karajan 1978 w/ von Stade, Van Dam
    Lyon/Baudo 1978
    RAI/Maazel
    Jourdan video w. Besnard+Chevalier+Ploteau
    Montreal/Dutoit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4XQ...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Opera de Leon/Gardiner – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH-G...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    LSO/Rattle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-wq...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    LPO/Andrew Davis – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuBT...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    ROH/Boulez w. Soderstrom+McIntyre+Shirley
    Welsh Nat Opera/Boulez – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHSK...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    Older mono:
    OSR/Ansermet mono w. Danco+Rehfuss+Maurane
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2Hr...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Paris Conservatoire/Desormiere 1941 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYHO...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Philh./Inghelbrecht, mono – 1951 w. Danco+Etcheverry+Maurane Testament
    Lamoureux/Fournet mono w. Michau+Roux+Maurane https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLcq...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Cluytens 1956 - mono w. de Los Angeles+Souzay+Jansen
    Bavarian RO/Kubelik w.Donath+F-D https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAaC...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    Act II – Nice but who?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoMV...MVyVmBasU&t=19
    Last edited by les24preludes; Jul-17-2018 at 10:20.

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    Senior Member Dr. Shatterhand's Avatar
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    My three suggestions:

    Désormière 1941 (authentic French singing)

    Cluytens 1956

    Ansermet 1964 (even if you don't like London)

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    Senior Member les24preludes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFuller View Post
    My three suggestions:
    Désormière 1941 (authentic French singing)
    Cluytens 1956
    Ansermet 1964 (even if you don't like London)
    Thanks Nick. Have you heard a lot of the available recordings? I agree with Desormiere though I'd like more modern sound in a go-to version if possible. Haven't heard Cluytens yet. I do find London a turn-off. I want a lighter voice for Golaud and ideally somebody authentically French. I speak French and I can tell the difference.

    As of now I'm liking Inghelbrecht 1962 best - good singers and good stereo sound. Not exactly unobtanium but not cheap and I don't want mp3s here. Fortunately there's a good chunk on YT which is at least something.

    I haven't heard Inghelbrecht mono on Testament or Ansermet's first mono version - they're two I want to sample.

    I have been quite enjoying de Billy's video apart from the rather strange set. Not an opera that's exactly easy to stage.

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    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    There was another P&M thread from 2013, the only one I found in Talk Classical one month ago. But it would have been a waste to create this thread again if the other had much more than two contributions:

    Quote Originally Posted by ptr View Post
    Three fave' of Debussy's P&M!


    Désiré-Émile Ingelbrecht & André Cluytens /Testament


    Rafael Kubelik/Orfeo

    All are excellent even is a bit old!

    /ptr
    It's an opera I'm curious about, but I have to finish the 19th century Romantic French operas before trying this one.

    The thing is one of us should request the mods to carry this thread to the "Opera on CD and DVD" section, because we are talking about recordings and not the work itself.

    Friendly reminder to new members (because I've also made the same mistake several times): search for the key words you're more interested about on Google and if you don't find a thread that shares the topic you want to come up with, create a new thread. Yesterday I read three different Mahler vs Bruckner threads talking about the same topic for 5-9 pages each, even with one poll.
    Last edited by Granate; Jul-17-2018 at 13:26.

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    Senior Member les24preludes's Avatar
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    Thanks Granate. I'm fairly new to this site and just saw the "Opera" forum and jumped. Given the poor response to the original thread and the better response to this, it could be smart to leave it be.

    I'm listening to Cluytens as I speak. Not bowled over by de los Angeles here. Previous to that I was listening to Danco in the earlier Ansermet and she was pretty close to how I want to hear this role, plus Ansermet was always wonderful in this music.

    Desormiere is really good and my favourite Golaud so far - Etcheverry. Since he's on the Inghelbrecht mono version that bodes well.
    Last edited by les24preludes; Jul-17-2018 at 13:45.

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    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    It's being performed at the Proms tonight, for those who can access BBC Radio 3.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

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    Senior Member les24preludes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    It's being performed at the Proms tonight, for those who can access BBC Radio 3.
    Thanks for that! Just down the road from me.

    I've been doing some further listening, quite liked Kubelik. Really like Monte Carlo/Jordan. This pretty much ticks all the boxes for the singing and conducting.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by les24preludes View Post
    I do find London a turn-off. I want a lighter voice for Golaud and ideally somebody authentically French. I speak French and I can tell the difference.
    I don't blame you. I don't speak French, but even I can tell that London is far from idiomatic, and I always find him a rather inelegant singer. You might prefer the earlier Ansermet (I certainly do) with Rehfuss as Golaud. The sound is obviously not as good as the stereo set, and Rehfuss isn't really ideal - it's a very light voice for the part, that doesn't evoke sufficient danger. The best Golaud I've heard is Jose van Dam - there's a reason why he's on three different recordings.

    If you want up-to-date sonics, you might think about the new Rattle/LSO recording, which is also excellently cast. But despite limited sonics, the Desormiere is essential.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    If you want up-to-date sonics, you might think about the new Rattle/LSO recording, which is also excellently cast. But despite limited sonics, the Desormiere is essential.
    There is a very good sounding remaster of the Desormiere at Pristine, but I suppose you probably aren't interested.... I enjoy it quite a lot though.

    I've been listening to the Abbado a fair amount recently when wanting to listen to a modern stereo version; as you noted, Van Dam is an excellent Golaud

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    Senior Member les24preludes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    There is a very good sounding remaster of the Desormiere at Pristine, but I suppose you probably aren't interested.... I enjoy it quite a lot though.
    No - I don't mind good mono sound if I really like the performance. Not a problem. In fact I've been listening to Ansermet's mono version this evening (gave up on the Proms) and really enjoying it. That and Jordan/Monte Carlo are the two versions I'm really liking at the moment. More to go.....

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    I have the Karajan version and find it very special

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    Senior Member les24preludes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I have the Karajan version and find it very special
    Which one - there are at least 3 I know of:

    RAI/Karajan 1954 mono w. Schwarzkopf+Haefliger
    VS Opera/Karajan 1962 w. Gueden+Waechter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex3o...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Karajan 1978 w/ von Stade, Van Dam

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    There is a very good sounding remaster of the Desormiere at Pristine, but I suppose you probably aren't interested....
    That's correct. No need to pay through the nose for this, when the EMI transfer sounds just fine, and cost me only nine bucks.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by les24preludes View Post
    No - I don't mind good mono sound if I really like the performance. Not a problem. In fact I've been listening to Ansermet's mono version this evening (gave up on the Proms) and really enjoying it. That and Jordan/Monte Carlo are the two versions I'm really liking at the moment. More to go.....
    ah, I was addressing WKasimer, who is not a fan of Pristine Classical.

    I however am a fan, and can wholeheartedly recommend their remasters. They did a wonderful job with the Desormiere--you can sample the sound here:

    https://www.pristineclassical.com/products/paco063

    To me, $16 for a miraculously better sounding version of this recording is a huge bargain.


    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I have the Karajan version and find it very special
    That recording is fairly well regarded but the Karajan just doesn't sound like Pelleas to me. I don't know if there's another recording of Pelleas I've heard that I find as wrong as the Karajan to me--and for the most part, I like most of the extant recordings of the work. There's a luxurious plush solidity to Karajan's sound that feels at odds with the ethereal nature of the work.

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    Senior Member WildThing's Avatar
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    I agree that the Pristine remaster of the Desormiere is the best choice...but the Abbado with van Dam, Le Roux and Courtis is a beautiful digital recording.

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